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16 December 2008, 12:28 pm
KOVALENKO Predicts Aussie 470 Pair Will Set New World Standard
Australian head coach Victor KOVALENKO
Australian head coach Victor KOVALENKO is predicting big things of the new 470 pairing of Matt BELCHER and Malcolm PAGE

Sail Melbourne 2008
Melbourne, Australia

Sail Melbourne Ambassador and Olympic "Medal Maker" Victor KOVALENKO has declared Malcolm PAGE and Matt BELCHER the new standard in 470 world sailing.
Following their first three-day training session on the Gold Coast, Malcolm PAGE said the Australian head coach surprised the new team with the statement, "I think I've just seen the new level of 470 sailing for the next four years."

The ISAF Sailing World Cup - Sail Melbourne, which began today at Sandringham Yacht Club, is the first outing for the recently crowned 470 class Olympic gold medallist and his new skipper Mat BELCHER.

PAGE, 36 said even before the Olympic Games in Beijing, he was keen to keep going on to London, with or without an Olympic gold medal.

"Nathan [PAGE's former skipper Nathan WILMOT] and I finished on a perfect note and managed to put the last piece of silverware we were missing in our trophy cabinet," PAGE said today.

"But even before the Games in August, I was still keen to roll on to London and I met with Mat in a coffee shop, two or three days after we won the gold medal to discuss a potential partnership with him," he added.

PAGE has enjoyed just three half days off since Beijing, so his teaming with 26-year-old BELCHER is perfect timing for the pair.

"He [BELCHER] is very hungry which is great for the two of us - it took Nathan and I 11 years to get to where we are, so to have a new partner full of enthusiasm is great because it will take us some time to get it all together.

"Our main aim for the next 12 months is the world championships and everything we do between now and then will be working towards getting a medal there,"
PAGE said.

Racing started at Sandringham Yacht Club today and concludes on Sunday 21 December.

Click here for all the news on Sail Melbourne 2008.

ISAF Sailing World Cup

The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 consists of the following events:

16-21 Dec 2008 - Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 Jan 2009 - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA
4-10 April 2009 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 - Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 - Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-28 June 2009 - Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain

Find out more about the ISAF Sailing World Cup, including more on the seven events, the scoring system and the Notice of Series at www.sailing.org/isafsailingworldcup.

Jodi Kelly
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